SEAFORD, Long Island (PIX11) — From Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Peter King, there were some big names in attendance at the funeral of five-year NYPD veteran Brian Moore. But the name Christopher O’Connor was just as important to the thousands of police officers and residents who’d come to St. James Roman Catholic Church on Friday.
O’Connor, an elementary school student, carried a homemade sign reading, “NYPD Brian Moore Strong.”
“Police do so much to keep us safe,” O’Connor said, the braces on his teeth shining in the bright, Long Island sun, “I could take one day and show respect to them.”
The one day he took to say thanks was a day that local schools in and around Moore’s hometown of North Massapequa remained closed. Christopher was among hundreds of local residents who voted with their feet to show support for police doing a difficult, but necessary job to keep people safe.
Local resident Marilyn Paris stood outside of the church wearing a t-shirt with the words “Be Moore” emblazoned on the front, along with Brian Moore’s badge number. “My neighbor’s husband worked with Moore at the 105 Precinct” in Queens, said Paris. “She had these shirts made for her little kids, and all the neighbors got into it, and she had them all printed up.”
Paris added that all of the donations for the Be Moore t-shirts, of which there were hundreds, went to the Moore family.
In addition to hundreds of locals showing up outside of the church, thousands of officers came from far and wide. PIX11 documented officers from such far-flung places as San Juan County, New Mexico, Boston, Quebec, Canada, the California Highway Patrol.
George Kuzmanovsky was the ranking officer in a group of police from the Chicago Police Department. “When an officer is killed in the line of duty,” Kuzmanovsky said, “it affects all of us. It hurts.”
The out-of-towners in blue joined NYPD officers, who’d gathered by the thousands, along with thousands more from Nassau County Police, whose jurisdiction includes Seaford, where the funeral was held, and other officers from departments throughout the New York City metro area. In fact, the number of cops at Moore’s funeral almost equaled the number of officers in the entire NYPD — 35,000.
The strength of the sea of blue was further shown in the half-mile long, two-deep line of police motorcycles from departments across the East Coast, roaring their support, as they led a motorcade that included the hearse carrying Moore’s casket.
What followed the thunder of the motorcycles, though, also showed the officers’ strength. Despite there being thousands of cops present, their formation was completely silent as the hearse rolled slowly by them, as they saluted en masse.
It would be the last time that Brian Moore was to enter his home parish.
“Time heals all wounds,” said Monsignor Robert Romano, the NYPD chaplain who gave the homily in the service. “As we say in Brooklyn,” the monsignor added, “it ain’t true.” He said that the wound of the loss of Moore would be forever felt, but so would the memory of his noteworthy service and well-liked personality.
Moore, in just five years of service, had made an unusually high number of arrests, 150.
Mayor De Blasio made reference to it in his comments from the pulpit. “Make our streets stronger and safer, that’s what he’d want,” said the mayor, “and that’s what we will do.”
During his comments, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton did as expected, and elevated the officer posthumously to the rank of Detective, First Grade. The detective shield designated for Moore bore the number 9002, in order after Detectives Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, patrol partners who were also shot while on duty, five months earlier.
“I hope the 9000 series never sees another,” said the commissioner, “but that is an idle hope. We are the police. Detective Brian Moore knew it, and so do we all. It is why this job is special,” he said.
Bratton also said that now-Detective Brian Moore has a new work detail, as “guardian angel at the gate of heaven.”
Moore’s father is a retired sergeant in the NYPD, as is his uncle. Both men were in front of the church as the flag draped casket was brought out of the church. Moore’s father wept uncontrollably, as he held onto the shoulder’s of Detective Moore’s sister. She, in turn, stood next to their mother, with whom Detective Moore made a point of spending every Monday.
There was a flyover by nine helicopters, an unusually high number, even for a police funeral. Then, Moore’s precinct commander turned over the NYPD flag from the casket to Moore’s mother.
As the commander spoke to Moore’s mother, she embraced him and cried. Moore’s father did the same thing, half a minute later.
As the Emerald Society accompanied the hearse out of the lot and on to the cemetery, the scene of thousands of men and women in blue standing with supporters in blue was reminiscent of the request the police commissioner made of us all.
“We share the responsibility of adherence to the law. We share the responsibility of keeping each other safe,” said Bratton. “It was Brian’s dream to do his part.
“My dream is a city where every and officer and every citizen does the same. Despite all the [recent protests], we’re closer to that than people think.
“Because constant throughout the years is this truth, which most citizens know: the vast majority of cops go out into the streets to be your police.”